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I have worked in cybersecurity for three decades—long enough to remember when it was called information assurance, or cryptographic security. To me, it’s all about security systems, and that’s what’s motivated me to help Booz Allen build a reputation as a top-notch cyber firm.
How? By understanding that problems aren’t one-dimensional.
We don’t just solve a policy problem or an engineering problem or a cyber-operations problem. We look at the client’s entire mission, and we bring in an integrated team, with manpower, organizational design, engineering, data analytics, system architects, and more. I love that we can bring an integrated team to solve their problems.
Natalie Givans leads technology solutions for Booz Allen’s infrastructure and military health business. She has 30 years of experience in a broad range of areas including system security engineering, cybersecurity, mission assurance, and information security.
She is a subject matter expert in the following domains:
Natalie is currently focused on providing clients with solutions in infrastructure, cloud, and shared IT services, as well as in cybersecurity, privacy, and software development. The projects she supports include the Department of Defense’s Electronic Health Records Program and the Environmental Protection Agency’s compliance systems.
She was an active member of Booz Allen’s System Security Engineering Capability Maturity Model project, focused on ensuring that security is integrated into all acquisition and systems development lifecycles from their conception.
Natalie has been a member of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA International) for 28 years, and chaired its board of directors from 2010 to 2012. She also serves on the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering National Advisory Council. She was named Engineer of the Year by the District of Columbia Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies for 2009 and one of Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching in 2011.
Natalie is a member of the Booz Allen Excellence Awards Committee and the Booz Allen Women's Leadership Initiative. She is the firm's sponsor for the MIT Industrial Liaison Program, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Society of Women Engineers and its Corporate Partnership Council, and the Girl Scouts of America.
She holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from MIT, and an M.S. in electrical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.
How do you help clients prepare for the future? We talk with them and listen to them. It sounds basic, but it’s what matters most. What’s their mission, and what are the hard things they face? A good consultant listens a lot and talks a little. We have the ability to tailor our approach depending on what’s the most urgent to our client. Our framework allows us to tackle what they need and identify new things that open up to help their processes organic to the client. We want to leave them better than we found them. Not to just sell work, but to leave each client stronger, better, and smarter to support their mission.
What’s the most pressing need in your industry? There is a lot of need for well-trained cyber specialists. All clients are in need of this talent. Clients also need integrated technology plans. They need a one-stop shop where they can address a wide range of problems.
Why are passionate about your work at Booz Allen? I’ve been passionate about cybersecurity for over 30 years. Through my work at Booz Allen and the opportunities I’ve been given, I’ve been inspired to volunteer in the community. I’m passionate about connecting with women and minorities and connecting them into STEM fields. I want to help them choose schools and exposure to STEM-focused topics, then move into colleges and careers with STEM opportunities. My passion is around increasing women and minorities in the workforce, so they can get involved and solve problems in cybersecurity, energy, environment, sustainability, and health care.
How do you help your team stay motivated? I think it’s about trying to establish a vision and win their hearts and minds on what it takes to get there. I want them to see I’m real, and we are moving in the right direction together.
What is the best business advice you’ve been given? The most important thing is that it’s always about the people. You have to realize it’s about relationships, the ones you build and the ones you nurture. Make sure you treasure and build your network.
Two words to describe you in high school: Shy and open hearted.
What is something you feel nostalgic for? I loved to wander around San Francisco, the Cannery, and Fisherman’s Wharf. I used to walk with my dad and see what we could discover.
What can we do to be happier in life? We are the least happy when we expect things and they don’t go that way. We need to be flexible enough follow the path, opposed to resisting and feeling bad about it.
Why is Booz Allen a good match for you? The thing that struck me with Booz Allen when I interviewed 32 years ago, and even now, there were a lot of smart people, and it was all about working with teams and working with the client hands-on. I love that we are with the clients every day, being a trusted advisor and understanding their needs. This is a place that’s dynamic. Every day is a new challenge and slightly different. We are on our feet thinking about how can we do better. I get excited to get out of bed everyday knowing I can affect change.
Where to do you see Booz Allen in the next 100 years? Booz Allen will hopefully be involved in being trusted advisors to those who can make change happen in a good way. Yes, we do technology work but we also do high-end, thought-provoking work in senior levels of government and industry. This is life-changing work, innovating and being on the leading edge. I want to think that in 100 years, we are part of the solution for humans to be viable on this planet. I hope we have helped make the world a better place. That’s my dream.